Can National Day Parade tickets be allocated to migrant workers and new Singapore citizens?
Probably not, says Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, who responded to a written Parliamentary question from Nominated Member of Parliament Yip Pin Xiu on Monday (Jan. 6), because there continues to be high demand for them among Singaporeans and permanent residents.
Priority will go to Singaporean citizens and PRs
Yip asked Ng whether a "meaningful number of tickets" could be given to migrant workers in recognition of their "contributions to the prosperity of our country", and if so, whether number of years of service in Singapore could also be a criteria for the allocation of those tickets.
She also suggested that allocation of tickets for new citizens can additionally encourage integration.
In his reply, Ng said the NDP's role as a "key national event to celebrate our nation’s independence together" is a chief reason why priority for allotting tickets will continue to go to Singapore citizens and PRs.
He also noted that some NDP previews are reserved for students, as part of their "national education".
In light of continually high and increasing demand over the years, Ng added, the NDP organising team has worked to increase the overall capacity for the annual parades, such as by adding a second Preview from 2016 onwards.
In addition, the organisers have expanded the National Day celebrations to other areas, such as by extending the mobile column path into the heartlands last year.
"These fringe and satellite activities allow tens of thousands more, including our migrant workers, to join the celebrations", explained Ng.
Migrant workers' contributions to Singapore
In June 2019, there were almost 1.4 million foreign workers in Singapore, according to foreign workforce numbers by the Ministry of Manpower.
Of the 981,000 low-wage migrant workers in Singapore holding work permits, 255,800 of them are foreign domestic workers.
And according to a 2019 report by consumer reporting agency Experian and Hong Kong charity Enrich, foreign domestic workers in Singapore contributed US$8.2 billion (S$11.1 billion) to the local economy in 2018.
Yip's history of advocating for greater societal inclusion
Yip also has a track record of advocating greater inclusion for marginalised groups.
The three-time gold medallist, who became a NMP in 2018, spoke about the importance of increasing inclusion of athletes with disabilities at the Committee of Supply on March 8, 2019.
Speaking in the session, she pointed out that she was not recognised as an athlete with the national sports association (NSA) for swimming, but instead was represented, along with all Singaporean athletes with disabilities regardless of sport, by the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC).
"By representing all athletes with disabilities through the Singapore Disability Sports Council instead of the sports they play, are we not putting the disability before the ability?
If an agency is representing a sport nationally, should it represent the sport to everyone in the nation, or only to those it deems fit?"
Top image via NDPeeps / Facebook.